He might be £70 million richer, a stone lighter, and far too deferential to his Saudi paymasters for comfort, but ultimately, all that matters to Anthony Joshua is that he is once again the heavyweight champion of the world. With a boxing display full of the guile and calculation that had deserted him in New York six months earlier, he wrested back his four belts from the fleshy midriff of Andy Ruiz and signaled a renewed appetite to dominate this sport’s most brutal division.
Anthony Joshua has beaten Andy Ruiz Jr on a unanimous points decision in their world heavyweight title rematch in Saudi Arabia.
Victory saw the British fighter reclaim the IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO belts he lost to his Mexican-American opponent in New York in June.
The hotly-anticipated bout on the outskirts of the capital Riyadh was threatened by delay after a rare desert rainstorm rolled in just moments before the action got under way, but it went ahead as planned and Joshua took full advantage.
The 30-year-old boxer stuck to his back-foot game plan to win the ‘Clash on the Dunes’ in Diriyah, as he resisted the urge to charge into battle with Ruiz.
The judges scored the fight 118-110, 118-110, 119-109 to Joshua after 12 rounds.
His triumph was greeted with roars of approval from the capacity 16,000 crowd inside the Diriyah Arena, which was constructed in just two months for the event.
Saudi Arabia, which has a poor record on human rights, had faced accusations of “sportswashing” during the build-up.